In the hustle and bustle of today, it’s often hard to find the time to exercise.
However, a good workout is the key to relieving stress, being strong, and looking and feeling good about yourself, which is why it is important and well worth it to make the time.
Believe it or not, it is possible to get an effective workout in half an hour if you maximize your workout. So make the most of the time you have rather than stressing about the time you don’t have for working out.
Here are eight things you can do to supercharge your workout – improving the efficiency, strength and time spent in the gym.
How To Supercharge Your Workout
1. Map out your workout
The easiest and most common way people find themselves doing inefficient workouts is by not having a game plan before they show up at the gym. When you wander around thinking about what to do next, you waste time and reduce the quality of your workout overall.
Write down your exercises and the time you need to spend on them to create a schedule you can bring with you. Do movements that use your own body weight as much as possible to help you get lean and functional while building your core strength. Exercises that require machines should only be 20-25% of your entire routine.
2. Switch it up
Be sure to mix up your routine to keep your body guessing and to keep yourself from getting bored. Your body won’t get the chance to adapt to any given activity when you alternate exercises, which allows you to burn more calories.
Having alternate exercises on hand is also important in case the machines you need are occupied. Research online, read fitness magazines, or take a group fitness class to get some new exercise ideas that you can always have as a back up plan.
3. Warm up on the way
A warm up before exercising is very important to prevent injury and prepare your body for the workout ahead. A proper warm up of at least five to ten minutes of low to moderate activity can increase body elasticity, get fluids moving through your joints, get blood flowing to your muscles, and gradually prepare your heart for an increase in activity.
Related: 11 Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy
To avoid using time at the gym on your warm up, consider walking, jogging or biking there instead. If that’s not possible, even parking a few blocks away can make a difference and save you time since you will arrive warmed up.
4. Proper form
It’s more efficient to do two reps properly than twenty incorrectly, so proper form is everything. For example, if you are using the rowing machine but not making the effort to complete the movement and fully extend your legs, torso and arms, then you aren’t expending nearly as many calories as you could be.
Improper form is also the quickest way to injury which can potentially put you out of the gym for weeks and risk a huge setback in reaching your fitness goals. Whether you are doing pushups, squats or rows, by ensuring proper form you will stay injury free and work your muscles to their full potential.
Related: How To Stay Injury-Free This Summer
5. Work multiple muscle groups at once
As you might expect, doing exercises that involve multiple muscle groups saves time and maximizes the energy you need. When you target different muscle groups at once you burn more calories and need to perform less repetitions to achieve the same results.
Any unsupported, upright activity, like running, forces you to use multiple muscles like your abs and back unlike seated exercises, like the bike. You can also try combining stationary lunges with a shoulder press, triceps presses with squats, or ball squats against a wall with biceps curls to work multiple muscle groups.
6. Monitor rest periods
It’s easy to let a 30 second rest period turn into a few minutes if you aren’t monitoring the time. Use a stopwatch or timer on your phone, limiting your rest periods to 30 or 45 seconds in order to maximize the total time you spend exercising. Active rest periods involving low intensity movements are a great way to keep you moving while only using low levels of energy.
7. Use interval training
Intervals are a great way to boost cardiovascular stress, increase physical fitness and maximize the calories burned during a workout. A 20 minute workout of alternating high and low intensity exercise burns more calories than 20 minutes of steady intensity exercise.
Try doing aerobic intervals of three minutes at slightly higher intensities than what you are used to, by increasing speeds, grades, resistances, etc., followed by a minute and a half at your regular, steady level. Repeat this four to five times.
Related: 4 Benefits Of Interval Training
8. Invest in a personal trainer
Personal trainers use expertise and education to provide guidance on how best to reach your personal fitness goals. Personal trainers are the ultimate time savers because they already know how to maximize your workout, reducing the time it takes you to get the results you want.
By utilizing a personal trainer, you will get a workout that is tailored to your body’s needs and limits, ultimately taking your body to the next level to achieve the results you want.
The time we have for ourselves is valuable and shouldn’t be wasted on long hours at the gym. When you maximize your workouts using these tips, you can make the most of the time you do have, still see the results you want, and start living better.
Jessica Neville is a graduate from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) with a B.A. in Public Relations and a B.S. in Psychology. She works in digital marketing as a project manager, managing social strategy, creative, and digital projects on B2B clients. Outside of work, Jessica loves food, dance, running, yoga, and writing about health and wellness for Find Your Trainer.
Photo by spyjournal
Originally published 10/24/2014. Updated 11/3/2020